Prospect of Jewish Exodus From Europe as Grave a Problem as Euro Crisis, Says Top EU Official
by Ben Cohen
The prospect of a Jewish exodus from Europe is as grave a problem as the future of the Euro currency, a senior European Union (EU) official has warned.
Speaking in Brussels, European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that in some EU member states, “the majority of the Jewish community is not sure they have a future in Europe.”
Jewish fears of an uncertain future on the continent present “a huge challenge to the very foundations of European integration,” Timmermans said.
“We can talk till kingdom come about the euro, about internal markets, about whatever initiative we take,” Timmermans declared, “but if this fundamental value in European society, which is that there is a place for everyone whatever your creed is, whatever your background is, your race is, the choices you make in society – if that is challenged, we have to answer that challenge by a policy that offers hope and prospects for everyone in European society.”
In the past, Timmermans has spoken with a rare sensitivity about Israel, while making clear that he disagrees with the policies of the current Israeli government. In 2013, while still serving as the Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, Timmermans told an audience in Jerusalem that Europe judges Israel from a different standard to other Middle Eastern states because it is seen as “a European country.”
Last year, Timmermans made it clear that the Dutch government opposes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, saying at the same time that he “discouraged” Dutch companies from conducting business with Israeli communities in the West Bank.
In December 2013, Timmermans was accused by some Dutch politicians of advising the government-owned Vitens water company to abandon a project with Israeli water company Mekorot, while remaining involved with similar projects in Hamas-ruled Gaza. While Vitens decided in the end to stop working with Mekorot, Timmermans claimed afterwards that his office had no objections to the Israeli company.